Making sustainable development a reality for all businesses in Viet Nam

Wednesday, Dec 07, 2016 10:00

A-class waste-water treatment systems have been installed at all of HEINEKEN’s breweries in Việt Nam. — VNS Photo

Many Vietnamese companies are still ignoring sustainability performance including environmental, social and governance information, an important factor promoting their long-term growth, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam told a recent Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum.

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present, without causing negative impacts to the ability of tomorrow’s natural system, he said.

The United Nations had laid out its 2030 Development Agenda, which is an ambitious vision to re-frame sustainable development and corporate sustainability for positive impact on people’s lives.

The scale and ambition of the 2030 Development Agenda creates a huge opportunity for the private sector to demonstrate the central role it can play in sustainable development and human prosperity and to serve as an essential partner to bridging the gap in finance and technical capacity necessary to meet the challenge of achieving the original Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.

Crucial role of the private sector

As Vietnam sees rapid economic development and a steady rise to be one of strong performers in ASEAN, it is imperative for businesses to review and renew their operations and to make sustainable development a core component in their growth strategy.

Against the backdrop of climate change and also urbanization, sustainable development is the right way forward especially for a growing economy like Vietnam. This is why the government now embraces companies who not only contribute to the economic growth of the country, but to the ones that set an example for how businesses should behave, operate and conduct business in our nation, especially as we become more integrated into the global economy.

To achieve the goal of making sustainable development a reality for all in Vietnam, there is a strong need to develop more collaborations between government and private sector. In fact, a strong, viable model of public-private partnership is essential to drive sustainable development much higher in the agenda for companies.

HEINEKEN Vietnam Brewery, which is a joint venture between HEINEKEN and Saigon Trading Group, has for many years placed emphasis on harmonising its benefits with the development of the community and society and environmental protection. It was recently ranked the third most sustainable business in Vietnam, and that bears testament to their approach and strategies to make sustainable development a true way of life at all their breweries and offices.

HEINEKEN Vietnam Brewery prioritises the community and environment. — VNS Photo

Leading the charge for sustainable development

Established in 1991, HEINEKEN Vietnam Brewery now has operations in Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh, Quang Nam, Tien Giang, and now Vung Tau. HEINEKEN Vietnam Brewery has a portfolio of well-known brands like Heineken, Tiger, Larue, Desperados, Affligem, and Strongbow Cider.

Beyond its strong portfolio of products, HEINEKEN Vietnam Brewery also takes an informed approach by focusing on sustainable development linked to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Its leading achievements include reducing water usage by 40 per cent since 2004 and carbon dioxide emissions by 50 per cent since 2014, and investing over VND200 billion in waste treatment systems at its breweries besides offering total community support worth over VND35 billion in 2014-16.

HEINEKEN Vietnam Brewery managed to reduce its energy consumption by 15 per cent in 2012-15.

An A-class waste-water treatment system has been installed at all of its breweries to make sure that all the wastewater is treated in a closed process before it is discharged into the environment.

The company has also paid great attention to using bio-mass and renewable energy solutions.

Already three out of its five breweries brew 100 per cent using renewable energy – biomass or biogas (collected from CH4 emitted from the wastewater treatment process and re-used in steam boilers).

This is an important process in saving fuel, reducing air pollution and helping HEINEKEN Vietnam Brewery save VND5 billion annually.

HEINEKEN Vietnam Brewery is also one of the first companies in Viet Nam to publish a sustainability report.

Solid commitment to community development

For HEINEKEN Vietnam Brewery, social responsibility is not limited to some internal activities, but has to go further.

For instance, it has a programme to request distributors and third-party partners to also commit to recycling, treating waste and reducing transportation emissions by 20 per cent by using other modes of transport including railways and waterways as well as roads.

It has also developed other environmental projects for caring and sharing with the community, including “Towards water security,” which aims to support students and young scientists with total funding of VND7.7 billion in 2012-17, as well as a wider water program called “one minute less for one million smiles” that helps communities access clean water, and raises public awareness of water saving.

Leo Evers, managing director of HEINEKEN Vietnam Brewery, said, “At HEINEKEN Vietnam Brewery, we believe in approaching sustainability in a much more holistic way. This means that we ensure the fundamentals of water and energy efficiency are in place, and also look at smart, innovative ways to enhance operations while being kind to the environments we operate in.” — VNS

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